A tribute

January 04, 2009

“OK, I’ll find and give you the necessary medicine that’ll make you fit to go to the fair today…”he said to my grandma on Christmas Day when we sat down to discuss the program for the day. Even in the last few days allotted to him by God on this earth, he had never failed to take care of all those who needed his help. It is sad that nobody bothers to think about or rather thank God for the things one gets for granted in one’s everyday life and it is only when something disappears that we realize how useful it was to us or how dependent we were on it. My grandfather or more affectionately ‘dadu’ passed away two days later on 27th December, 2008 at 2:30pm. It is very depressing to find that all the great things he did in his life can only be appreciated once his tenure of life was over which includes what I’m writing right now.

I’ve known many people over the years and I’ve known many eminent people also. But the more I think of dadu, the more I find myself asking the question of is it better to be talented and skillful or is it superior to be a good man. Though born with many diversified talents, the best aspect in him was his being the true gentleman. I have seen only sixteen years and a half of his life and I can well say that not many people are as ‘good hearted’ and caring as he was. People who had known him for longer will agree with me. Why he was a man of honor is too tough a question to answer. In all those years I had known him, I can never recall a time when he spoke badly of someone or lied to someone. Realizing the fact that there are other people who have known him for a much longer period, I had talked to some of them. And I was convinced that I was not wrong. Even at this age when I’m still young I could not do what he did for about eighty-four years that is maintaining his being a true gentleman and abiding by it all the time. I’ve had my share of mistakes but I have never been able to be nor have I seen anyone being half the man he was. It is perhaps for these reasons or more accurately virtues that he died most peacefully in his sleep. I recall a small incident in this perspective. It was just before the Durga Puja in one of the past few years. Baba was asking dadu what he would prefer to be a gift for that year’s puja. All dadu wanted was a very simple ‘lungi’. Most of us look forward to this time of the period because of the gifts that one would get or the ‘more-in-fashion’ clothes that one would be able to wear. I can only think of him who would want something so simple in such a great festive occasion. How many people living today can be so content with what he already has and not want more? All of us want something or the other at every point of time myself being the biggest example. Never in his life did he want anything from anyone. Dadu was out of the ordinary. And seeing all the qualities in him I do not think I’ll give it a second thought in calling him divine. God is kind to those who spread His word not only by preaching but also by exhibiting the properties that He would want to see in every man. It truly is an “end of an era” according to baba. But I think it was more like an end of a legend. “He died a happy man” said baba once he came home from the cremation ground on the 27th day in December 2008, which proved to be a terribly sad day in the history of the Sen Family.

If tears could bring him back, I’d then definitely let my emotions take shape and start crying right away. But that won’t do any good. What has taken place cannot be altered. I do not believe in rituals after death nor do I believe in crying over spilt milk. But I do get amazed when I really sit down and think of how great yet simple a man can be when I think of him. He was perhaps the simplest person I’d ever meet. He was simply the best.

“Well I’m glad that you did all the errands you were entrusted with and spontaneously went to have dadu’s photos bound…”whispered baba on the night of 28th of December. “Would I not do this bit for dadu?” I thought to myself and I imagined it to be a sarcastic smile on my mind’s face and I asked myself that was that all I could do for him after all the things he did for this family starting from building the house we live in. I couldn’t find an answer to my question. It was then for the first time that I thought of writing a tribute to this great man. We do not realize a Saint until he or she is dead. If I were to nominate a Saint, it would surely be our very own dadu. It’s not that I’m saying this now that he has passed away. I had said this to my brother long time back when he was a bit rude to him although dadu did not notice. I had told him that of all people dadu is one person whom I would never be rude to because I think that he was extraordinary. I added that I was sure that he would have his inevitable end to his life in a very peaceful manner. Those words I said from my heart and my brother will still agree that I had actually said that.

What he left behind were only his deeds. From his life, we can learn a lot-“to be generous, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward”.

I do not think anyone ever found time to thank him for all that he had done. It is in the nature of great men to leave the world without seeing their works or merits being appreciated or being thanked for all that he or she had done all their life. He is not physically present but in us he lives-he lives within us, his descendants. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his deeds and worship him for the divine qualities in him on behalf all those who are reading this. And one thing I can guarantee right now is that we will never forget you, Dadu. As I kept thinking of Dadu, two lines of simple poetry flashed on my mind as if out of nowhere:

I see skies of blue, red roses too
And I think to myself, “Where are you, Dadu?”

Everything that has a beginning has an end. Although pishi had said “everyday that he lives is a bonus for him (dadu)”, it was still shocking for me to believe that he who was having ‘muri’ with us the day before would never move any of his muscles again. The more I think of it the more unbelievable it turns out to be. That day when I saw dadu’s dead body being moved, I was astounded as I never imagined I’d see this happen. It looked as if the body had never moved at all. It was for his loving nature that all those who experienced his love had come to see him for the last time within a very short notice and leaving behind all that which seemed to be important. “He had no enemies” Kaku remarked. And I absolutely believe it to be true. The day had come to an end with the passing away of a very dear husband, father, grandfather, relative and above all a man. We all pray that his soul finds peace.